Golden-laced Bearded Polishes

Also called the Poland, these fowl are known for their wacky "hairdos." Though attractive, however, often these feathers on their head will inhibit their eyesight, so a little bit of trimming may be necessary around their eyes (Be careful if you do!). Otherwise they may occasionally run into things. They can show aggressive behavior towards others of their kind, but this can be remedied with space and entertainment. They are wonderfully ornamental, for obvious reasons, and sport a knob on their head from which their crest protrudes. As chicks they will appear to have a large bump on their head, which distinguishes them at this age from other breeds.

  • Appearance:
    • Male: As the name implies, these birds have black lacing around their golden-bay feathers. The lacing is thicker the closer to the head, and on the head can be very thick as shown in the picture. Males of the polish breed typically have a more umbrella shaped crest on their head, and may be prone to attempting to pluck feathers from other males' crests, but this can be remedied with space and a little bit of entertainment. Make sure that you have very consistent black-laced golden-bay feathers, without the occasional completely white feather. The hackles, however, are tipped with black instead of laced. Just a heads up.
    • Female: In contrast to the males, females have a more puff-ball shaped crest, and also sport the black-laced, golden bay feathers in both their crest and body. Also, in general with the crested breeds, polish included, the fowl will have large nostrils, so do not be surprised.
    • Face: Red
    • Comb: Red V-comb
    • Earlobes: White
    • Skin color: White
    • Beak color: Light horn
    • Eyes: Dark Brown
    • Legs: Dark Blue/Slate
  • Weight: Rooster-6 Hen-4.5 Cockerel-5 Pullet-4
  • Purpose: Dual-purpose
  • Origin: Earliest accounts trace the Ploish chickens back to Asia, but the earliest recorded presence is in Holland, in approximately the 1600s. It is thought that a similar bird existed in even Roman times.
  • Common: Relatively
  • Egg color: White
  • Egg size: Medium to Small
  • Eggs a week/year: A little more than 2 eggs a week/about 120 a year.
  • Broody: No
  • Confinement: Great, can actually be somewhat beneficial to be in confinement in a stable environment, otherwise they may be very easily startled, and jumpy.
  • Compatibility: Not good. They do better when they have ample space, but otherwise they may peck at other chickens.
  • Hardy: Not very. Especially in the winter months water from drinking may freeze in their crests, so they may take some maintenance, and maybe a blow dryer in winter months once in a while. Their feathers are not very well suited for cold weather either.
  • Bantam: Yes*
  • Personality: They are very friendly birds, and have a calm disposition. They can be jumpy however due to their limited vision, but this can be remedied by either trimming the feathers around the eyes, or tying up their crests. They are quite active, and fun to watch run around. Loud noises may scare them more so than other breeds, but otherwise they are quite normal.
  • Available from:*
A good conversation starter, and companion, these chickens are definitely worth it. They are absolutely exquisete to look at, and are a deviation from the day to day, average chicken. Definitely a good buy.

Photo courtesy of: mypetchicken.com
Information courtesy of: http://www.purelypoultry.com/polish-chickens-p-307.html
http://www.crestedbreeds.com/crested_breeds_polish.html
http://www.keepingchickens.com/polish-chickens/
http://sinbad99029.tripod.com/id13.html

Speckled Sussex

The Speckled Sussex is a beautiful chicken that becomes more decorative with age. They are ideal for backyard chicken owners who need to impress neighbors, yet they still produce a fair number of eggs, and are good for eating when the time comes. However, they are not commonly used in the meat industry, because they develop slowly, but they a good choice for those who are not burdened by time.
  • Appearance:
    • Male: These birds are extremely beautiful and ornamental, they have a mahogany base with many feathers having a black bar, and ending in a white tip. The reason I say that these chickens become more beautiful with age is because with each molt the amount of white on the tip is a little more. So, eventually you have these fancy, white-speckled chickens. For males in particular they have very impressive sickles and the white and mahogany make a beautiful contrast on their hackle.
    • Female: A hen is what is shown above, at an older age, and is equally beautiful, however, and will camouflage easily as will the male. If well-tended these can become very proper, and regal looking birds.
    • Face: Red 
    • Comb: Single-Medium
    • Earlobes: Red
    • Skin color: Pinkish white
    • Beak color: Horn
    • Eyes: Red-Orange
    • Legs: Pinkish white
  • Weight: Rooster-9 Hen-7 Cockerel-8 Pullet-6*
  • Purpose: Dual-purpose
  • Origin: Sussex, England
  • Common: Yes
  • Egg color: Light Brown
  • Egg size: Medium to Large
  • Eggs a week/year: 4 or so a week/200 a year
  • Broody: Yes*
  • Confinement: Great, but they are good free-range, as they are well camouflaged from predators.
  • Compatibility: Good, they are more mellow, and will be closer to the bottom of the pecking order.
  • Hardy: Yes, they are actually quite good winter layers, but as with almost any chicken, you want a small source of heat for them.
  • Bantam:Yes *
  • Personality: Mellow, and easily tamable, they are a good starter breed for new chicken owners. They are also commonly quite smart for a chicken.
  • Available from:*
    • eFowl.com
      • Day Old: (Min. 5 in total) SR: $2.25, F: $2.60, M: $1.42
    • Welp Hatchery
      • Day Old: (Min. 1) SR: $2.30, F: $2.76 , M:$1.90
    • McMurray Hatchery
      • Day Old: (Min. 1) SR: $2.25, F: $2.72, M: $1.53
In general, a good jack-of-all-trades. They are a amazing breed, but one that is still easy to have and handle.
    Photo courtesy of Flickr user: terrabytefarms
    Information courtesy of: http://www.efowl.com/Speckled_Sussex_Chickens_p/1091.htm
    http://www.poulacapplepoultry.com/html/sussex.html#speckled_sussex

        Barred Plymouth Rocks

        photoUp there with Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks are a chicken that you will see in the majority of backyard flocks. Though this is not too surprising considering their tolerance of small spaces, their docile nature, and their eye-catching plumage. These birds were the first variety of the Plymouth Rocks, and are commonly referred to as Barred Rocks, Plymouth Rocks, or even just plain old Rocks. They are not very good fliers, and have an interesting feather between both males and females, shown in detail here.

        • Appearance:
          • Male: Featuring the barred lines of white and black on their whole body, Barred Plymouth Rock roosters often have very elegant looking sickles that even more accentuate the barred pattern. Roosters of this breed tend to be more laid back than others. Higher quality birds have narrower, and very distinct bars, same goes for females.
          • Female: As usual the same as males without the sickle the Barred Plymouth Rock hen also subject to the interesting pattern that forms when the feathers line up in certain ways, appearing as individual as a fingerprint.
          • Face: Red
          • Comb: Single
          • Earlobes: Red
          • Skin color: Yellow
          • Beak color: Yellow
          • Eyes: Red-orange
          • Legs: Yellow
        • Weight: Rooster-9.5 Hen-7.5 Cockerel-8 Pullet-6*
        • Purpose: Dual-purpose
        • Origin: America
        • Common: Extremely
        • Egg color: Light brown, possibly with a pink tinge
        • Egg size: Large
        • Eggs a week/year: about 4 eggs a week, and 200 a year.
        • Broody: Not very often*
        • Confinement: Great with smaller spaces, but they do like to be able to run around.
        • Compatibility: They get along well with other chickens, and tend to be lower in the pecking order.
        • Hardy: Generally cold hardy because of their weight, but not as tolerant of the heat for the same reason.
        • Bantam: Yes*
        • Personality: Typically mellow, and easily tamable, Barred Plymouth Rocks are an "Average Joe" of a chicken.
        • Available from:*
        A good combination of egg-laying, visual appeal, and ease of keeping, it's no secret of why this is such a common choice.

        Photo courtesy of Flickr user: ardens
        and http://www.tonyhill.net/item564358.ctlg
        Information courtesy of: http://www.plymouth-rock-poultry.co.uk/barredplymouthrocks.htm
        http://www.omlet.us/breeds/breeds.php?breed_type=Chickens&breed=Plymouth%20Rock

          Silver Spangled Hamburgs

          Known to be a free-spirited bird, the Hamburg breed has earned themselves a reputation of being intolerant of confinement, partly because of their flying ability. They are characterized by a few key traits such as a good feed-to-egg ratio and quick maturation. This breed traces back to the late 1600's, and possibly before with an account of the Italian naturalist Aldrovandi, describing a spangled chicken the same in nearly every aspect of that of the spangled hamburgs. This entry was made in Turkey in 1599, which has led many to think that the Hamburgs came from Turkish origin, rather than a Dutch one. Either way, these chickens are a very ancient breed with deep roots, and their genetic origin is widely unknown.

          • Appearance:
            • Male: These roosters will have thin lacy (as in soft and wispy) white feathers with black dagger-shaped tips on the head, and hackle (back and sides of neck). On the saddle (swoop of back) there should be similar white feathers with black tips, but a bit stouter and less lacy qualities (click here for example). The saddle feathers may also appear similar to the hackle feathers. At the sickles (long tail feathers), the feathers will be longer and again with a slightly stouter tip. Throughout the rest of the chicken you should see a similar pattern to that of the saddle, but they may be lined up in row along the wing, as opposed to the appearance of randomness in other areas.
            • Female: The female has the appearance of being completely covered in the feather that is linked to above, with only marginally slighter tips on the head, and hackle. The female in general will appear to have a higher black-to-white ratio than the male.
            • Face: Red
            • Comb: Rose comb
            • Earlobes: White
            • Skin color: White
            • Beak color: Dark to light horn, for the base to the tip, respectively.
            • Eyes: Dark brown
            • Legs: Slate grey
          • Weight: Rooster-5 Hen-4 Cockerel-4.5 Pullet-3.5*
          • Purpose: Egg-laying
          • Origin: Though the name implies that the Hamburg chickens are of German origin they actually were initially bred in Holland, and before that it is said that they were from Turkey. Either way they are not German.
          • Common: Uncommon/Watch
          • Egg color: Hamburgs in general have a glossy-white egg.
          • Egg size: Small to Medium
          • Eggs a week/year: 4 or so eggs a week, and 200-225 eggs a year.
          • Broody: Almost never*
          • Confinement: Known as a flighty and sprightly bird, so they are somewhat intolerant of confinement.
          • Compatibility: They get along well with other chickens, and will be nearer to the top of the pecking order because the mature earlier and generally smaller chickens such as these are not as laid back in their attitudes.
          • Hardy: More cold hardy than warm, because of their developement in the colder, and damper region of Europe.
          • Bantam: Yes*
          • Personality: Generally a flighty bird, they are very active, and may try to fly over your chicken coop wall. If you have these chickens you may want to consider getting hawk-netting for their safety. They are also quite cautious and may avoid human contact, but this may be helped with handling while young.
          • Available from:*

            Though they lay a smaller egg, they lay a lot of them, and in addition they have a very exotic look to them. They used to be known for their usefulness in more ways than one, and this is what is valuable to the backyard chicken owner.


            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: reds_animals
            Information courtesy of: http://www.purelypoultry.com/hamburg-chickens-p-647.html
            http://books.google.com/books?id=aGVEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA254&lpg=PA254&dq
            http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
            *For more information on terms above see Key to Chicken Entries

            Black Copper Marans

            Marans Hen by ninjapoodles.
            rooster idol continues by ninjapoodles.This bird has made a name for itself as one of the world breeds that produces chocolate brown eggs. It is highly prized by chefs, both for it's color and quality. However, it does not have a APA (American Poultry Association) Standard of Perfection, so there are many varieties, but the French Standard is your best bet. Unfortunately for us though there is no single strain that is the French Standard, so you might want to use the criteria below to find the one closest to it that you can. Though this may not be important to all of you, if this criteria is not fulfilled the chicken will probably not be pure Black Copper Maran, and not lay it's legendary dark eggs.
            • Appearance:
              • Male: One of the more complexly colored roosters, ideally this has: a  continuous shade of copper on the head, and hackle (back and sides of neck). Then there will be a slightly darker shade of copper on the saddle (swoop of back), and a mix of this darker shade with black feathers as you move towards the wings. On the lower part of the wings, and tail, there should be all black feathers, with a very prominent green sheen. Other parts as you move to the chest and under the wings will also be black, but without as much of a sheen, if any at all.
              • Female: A female has a nearly completely black body with copper on the head and neck areas, as above. It is good to have intense copper in these areas, but if any is found in the chest, or back, it is considered bad genetics, so you might want to stay away from mothers who may have these characteristics if you are going to breed your chickens. Also look out for white spots anywhere.
              • Face: Red
              • Comb: Large red single or rose comb
              • Earlobes: Red
              • Skin color: Yellow
              • Beak color: Yellow
              • Eyes: Red-Orange
              • Legs: Slate gray, with a pink underside. Preferably feathered, this is what is considered the French standard, but only on the leg and outer toe.
            • Weight: Rooster-8 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7 Pullet-5.5*
            • Purpose: This chicken is dual-purpose.
            • Origin: Marans originated in France.
            • Common: Rare
            • Egg color: Chocolate Brown. This color is achieved by a coating that is applied in the last part of the laying process, that since it is only on the surface, you can rub it off with a little work.
            • Egg size: Large to X-Large
            • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week 150-180 a year, but of it's legendary eggs.
            • Broody: Occasionally*
            • Confinement: They generally take confinement well.
            • Compatibility: They typically get along well with others.
            • Hardy: They are good with cold because they were initially bred in a damp environment.
            • Bantam: Yes*
            • Personality: Not as vocal as other chickens, generally they are active, but may become lazy if not given the proper space.
            • Available from: In this chickens case it is bad to buy from hatcheries because they will not reach all of the standards, and will not lay dark eggs. However below I have listed severaly popular lines of this chicken, and sellers.*
            Well known to be amazing egg-layers, they are also visually pleasing. Definitely a good addition to the backyard chicken owner's flock.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: ninjapoodles

            Information courtesy of: http://blackcoppermarans.org/
            http://maransofamericaclub.com/
            http://www.maransusa.com/
            *For more information on terms above see Key to Chicken Entries

            Black Jersey Giants

            Black Jersey Giants were initially bred as table birds by the Black brothers of New Jersey. In their composition were Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas. Initially called Black's Giants, they were developed between 1870 and 1890. They later received the APA standard of perfection in 1922, but never fulfilled their dream as a table bird because soon afterward the broad-breasted turkey was developed. Although they did not reach their market potential they are still good roasters. Another thing to note about them is to make sure that your water/food bowls are high enough so that they do not kick dirt into them, as they are the largest purebred chicken in the world.
            • Appearance: Black Jersey Giants have black feathers, with a green tint. They may also have some very dark brown in the shanks. They have a red single comb, red earlobes, yellow skin, a beak that at the base is black with a slight yellow tint at the tip, along with dark brown eyes.
            • Weight: Rooster-13 Hen-10 Cockerel-11 Pullet-8* These chickens will grow at the same rate as other chickens, but will not fill out until later in their life, so they are not used commercially.
            • Purpose: Black Jersey Giants are a dual-purpose chicken.*
            • Origin: New Jersey, America
            • Common: Watch
            • Egg Color: Light Brown
            • Egg Size: X-Large
            • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 a week/175-185 a year. This is more than most large chicken breeds.
            • Broody: Yes*
            • Confinement: Good, they are mellow by nature, and don't fly very high because of their weight.
            • Compatibility: Good, as with any other chicken they will participate in a pecking order, and might end up towards the bottom because of their more laid-back attitudes.
            • Hardy: They are rather cold hardy with their large frame, but may not be as heat hardy for the same reason.
            • Bantam: Yes*
            • Personality: They are laid-back and mellow by nature, but will not be as intimidated as other chickens might be because of their size.*
            Black Jersey Giants are a fun chicken to have in your backyard. They can grow to large sizes, but also may be very useful as well. They are good foragers, and would do well with other pets.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: winsomebulldog
            Information courtesy of: http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/jerseygiant.html
            http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/ark_product_detail/jersey_giant_chicken/
            http://nationaljerseygiantclub.com/QA_giants.html
            http://www.poultrypages.com/jersey-giant.html

            *For more information on terms above see Key to Chicken Entries

            Silver-Laced Wyandottes

            The Wyandotte chicken, in general, is well-known to be an all-around bird. They have a beautiful, simple appearance, they lay a fair number of eggs, but also are a good meat bird when it is their time. The Silver-Laced variety was the first developed of the Wyandotte chickens, around the year of 1885, with all of the other varieties emerging a few years later. This breed in particular is known to have a pleasant curved appearance, with a deep saddle and graceful lines.
            • Appearance: Silver-laced Wyandottes have silver-white feathers with a black lacing (black edge on feather). The black may have a slight sheen to it, and the thickness of the lacing may vary both from chicken to chicken, and on different parts of the body. They have a red rose comb (occasional single, but these are considered an impure variety), red earlobes, yellow skin, a yellow beak, and red-bay eyes.
            • Weight: Rooster- 8.5 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7.5 Pullet-5.5*
            • Purpose: They are dual purpose.*
            • Origin: New York State, America
            • Common: Yes
            • Egg color: Brown
            • Egg size: Large to X-Large
            • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week/180-200 a year
            • Broody: Yes
            • Confinement: Well
            • Compatibility: Good
            • Hardy: They are relatively heat hardy, but more so in the cold due to their feathering, and their rose combs which are better suited to cold weather than single combs.
            • Bantam: Yes*
            • Personality: Known to be a very energetic and vocal chicken, they are also motherly and not as aggressive as usual.
            A good chicken that not only is a fair egg producer, but also fun to show to your friends and family.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: Rick Scully
            Information courtesy of: http://www.dtbcentre.co.uk/wyandotte.htm
            http://www.circlepondfarm.com/silver_laced_wynadotte.htm
            http://www.plumjam.com/poultry/breeds/

            *for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

            Buff Orpington

            The most common of the Orpington chicken breeds, the Buff version is a later-developed variety, developed by William Cook in Orpington, Kent, England. This chicken was revealed in 1894, and made its way to the USA soon afterward. They hit a decline, but are now recovering and becoming a popular choice for the backyard chicken owners like us. They lay a good number of eggs and are heavily and loosely feathered (lots of feathers that are fluffed outward).

            • Appearance: They should be a buff color, which would look like a rich amber or yellow-orange, there are many that look more dark, or light in color, but try to get as close between as you can. They have a red single comb, red earlobes, white skin, a light pink beak, and red-bay eyes.
            • Weight: Rooster-10 Hen-8 Cockerel-8.5 Pullet-7*
            • Purpose: They are dual purpose, especially with their heavy frame.*
            • Origin: Buff Orpingtons were bred in Orpington, Kent, England, like I said before.
            • Common: Yes, the Buff variety is the most common of the Orpington breed, but not as common as the White Leghorn or Rhode Island Red.
            • Egg color: Light brown
            • Egg size: Medium
            • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week/175-200 a year
            • Broody: Yes, they prefer to have large batches of eggs and will be very maternal.
            • Confinement: They are very easy-going by nature, and it is not like them to try to escape.
            • Compatibility: As they are larger, and more laid-back, they are often low in the pecking order. As a result they along great with other Buff Orpingtons, but may be picked on by other chickens.
            • Hardy: They are very cold hardy from all of their feathers, but they may not do too well in the heat for the same reason.
            • Bantam: Yes*
            • Personality: As I said Buff Orpingtons are very laid back, and maternal. They are very loving to their owner, and are the kind of chicken that you could handle and pet a lot.
            Buff Orpingtons are a very friendly, loving chicken. They produce a good number of eggs, and are very good for roasting. Definitely good if you would want to show your chicken to your friends, and family, while still being useful.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: vylettefairwell
            Information courtesy of: http://www.quakerfarm.com/quakerpoultry.html
            http://www.unitedorpingtonclub.com/standard.htm
            http://www.easternplains.com/orpington%20history.htm

            *for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

            Double-Laced Barnevelders

            Originating in Holland the Barnevelder chicken was a very sought after chicken in the early 1900's for it's ability to lay dark brown eggs in good numbers. That is not the case today, with the majority of breeds being produced for looks, rather than for egg color and production. Nonetheless some breeders are determined to bring these aspects back, and some chickens of greater quality can be found for higher prices, but buy with caution.

            • Appearance: These chickens have a brown double-laced feather pattern from which this variety draws it's name. They have a beetle-green sheen on their hackle (neck area), a red single comb, red earlobes, yellow skin, a yellow beak, and red-brown eyes. Right click on this picture, hit "view image" and look at the breast and wing to see the double-laced feather pattern.
            • Weight: Rooster-7.5 Hen-6 Cockerel-6.5 Pullet-5*
            • Purpose: They are dual purpose*
            • Origin: These chickens originated in the Barneveld region of Holland, from which the breed takes it's name.
            • Common: This chicken breed is the most popular in Holland, and is quite common in many other countries
            • Egg color: Dark to light brown
            • Egg size: Large to X-Large.
            • Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week/180-200 a year, which is good for a dark egg layer.
            • Broody: Yes, and they make wonderful mothers, with the rooster often chipping in a little bit.*
            • Confinement: Well, especially as they have short wings it is difficult for them to get out if they wanted to.
            • Compatibility: Good with other animals and chickens.
            • Hardy: Very cold hardy from where it was bred, and rather heat hardy too.
            • Bantam: Yes
            • Personality: Kind and friendly, they will often accompany you to your house or around the chicken coop. They are also very maternal, and clean for a chicken.
            Generally a very good chicken with maternal qualities, making it good for a family with young children, and a need for eggs only every few days, not every single one.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: sanneonix
            Information courtesy of: http://peaceofthyme.com/photo2_1.html
            http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/poultry/barnevelder.htm
            http://shilala.homestead.com/barnevelder.html

            *for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

            White Leghorns

            Another incredibly common chicken, that is found in many varieties, with the most common, and famous being the White. They are the primary white egg producer of the world, and will be the source of what you pick up in the supermarket. Especially the Pearl-White variety (pictured) are very regal looking, and would be a nice addition to your flock in more ways than one. However they are a bit of a smaller bird, and so they are used primarily for egg-laying. They are usually up there right with the Rhode Island Red.
            • Appearance:
              • Male: These chickens have white feathers that are very bright and beautiful when taken care of. Their tails are very large. but are displayed less in the way of height, but in distance behind them. They have large red facial features in contrast to the white, and will be what "the barnyard rooster" should look like.
              • Female: Same as male but without the large swooping tail and large facial features. Otherwise she may be a little more "compact", reflecting on the good food to egg ratio that this breed has.
              • Face: Red
              • Comb: Large red single or rose comb
              • Earlobes: White
              • Skin color:Yellow
              • Beak color: Yellow
              • Eyes: Red-Orange
            • Weight: Rooster-6 Hen-4.5 Cockerel-5 Pullet-4*
            • Purpose: White leghorns, due to a smaller body are for Egg-Laying purposes.
            • Origin: This breed of chicken originated in Italy, and take their name from Livorno, also known as Leghorn, which was the first city that they were shipped from.
            • Common: Extremely
            • Egg color: White
            • Egg size: Medium to Large
            • Eggs a week/year: 5-6 eggs a week/280-300 a year, known to lay in nearly all conditions.
            • Broody: No, broodiness has been almost completely bred out of them.
            • Confinement: Generally take confinement very well.
            • Compatibility: Good with others of it's kind, but not especially with others.
            • Hardy: Good with heat, and okay with cold. In the cold they may need a little petroleum jelly on their comb.
            • Bantam: Yes*
            • Personality: Nervous, but intelligent... They usually handle new situations with caution.
            • Available from: *
            Well known to be amazing egg-layers, they are also visually pleasing. Definitely a good addition to the backyard chicken owner's flock.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: calpsychik 

            Information courtesy of: http://www.afn.org/~poultry/breeds/leghorn.htm
            http://domestic-birds.suite101.com/article.cfm/breed-profile-of-the-leghorn-breed-of-chicken
            http://purelypoultry.com/leghorn-chickens-p-467.html
            *for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

            Black Australorps

            Australorps were bred from a variety of breeds in Australia, including Black Orpingtons from which they take their name. They were bred as utility birds, and have a good egg laying rate, currently holding the world record for most eggs laid in a year, with 364. However, this was in the 1920's, when the breed had a better laying rate. Australorps are unofficially considered the chicken of Australia.
            • Appearance: 
              • Male: Black feathering with a very prominent beetle green sheen. Tails are held high and they have a very broad front. They have a large single comb, and other large facial features such as the wattle, and earlobes.
              • Female: Same as male but with a less prominent green sheen. They also have a somewhat lower tail, and smaller comb.
              • Face: Red
              • Comb: They have a large red single comb
              • Earlobes: Red
              • Skin color: White
              • Beak color: Black
              • Eyes: Dark brown or black
            • Weight: Rooster-8.5 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7.5 Pullet-5.5*
            • Purpose: Australorps are dual purpose*
            • Origin: Australia
            • Common: Yes
            • Egg color: Light brown
            • Egg size: Medium to Large
            • Eggs a week/year: 4-5 eggs a week/200-250 eggs a year
            • Broody: Sometimes, though they will even raise others eggs and chicks.*
            • Confinement: Australorps do not usually try to escape.
            • Compatibility: Often low in the pecking order, Australorps are compatible with other chickens.
            • Hardy: Generally Australorps are hardy in hot and cold weather.
            • Bantam: Yes, there is a bantam form of the Australorps.
            • Personality: Generally friendly, and social with others. They may submit and be bullied occasionally however. 
            • Available from: *
            A good layer, along with a simple yet beautiful look, makes this chicken a complete package for backyard chicken owners.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: buildakicker
            Information courtesy of: http://hubpages.com/hub/Chicken-Breeds-Australorp
            http://www.chickenhouse-plan.com/71/chicken-house-plan-what-the-heck-is-an-australorp/
            http://www.raising-chickens.org/australorps.html
            http://poultrykeeper.com/australorp/the-australorp/
            *for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

            Rhode Island Red

            One of the most common chickens in our world today, the Rhode Island Red (RIR), originated in Rhode Island over a century ago. The single combed variety was admitted to the standard of perfection of the American Poultry Administration (APA) in 1904---the rose-combed variety recognized a year later. RIR's have hard feathers, and can be very good egg layers, even through winter if kept under suitable conditions.
            • Appearance: 
              • Male: Their feathers are a famous rusty, to chocolaty-red. They also have some black patches in their tails,  and a little in their wings.
              • Female: Same as male, but they also have black on the back of their neck. The hens also tend to be a bit darker and more richly colored than the males.
              • Face: Red
              • Comb:  Red, single or rose
              • Earlobes: Red
              • Skin color: Yellow
              • Beak color: Yellow
              • Eyes: Red-orange
            • Weight: Rooster-8 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7 Pullet-5.5*
            • Purpose: Dual purpose*
            • Origin: Rhode Island- America
            • Common: Extremely
            • Egg color: Light brown
            • Egg size: Large or extra large
            • Eggs a week/year: 5-6 eggs a week/250-300 eggs a year.
            • Broody: No, but when they do go broody, they are a very dutiful mother.*
            • Confinement: RIR's handle confinement well, and do not typically try to escape.
            • Compatibility: Good with other RIR's but, may be a little aggressive with other chickens.
            • Hardy: These birds are known to be very hardy in winter and summer... They also have strong immune systems.
            • Bantam: Yes, though a bit more uncommon, there is a bantam variety of the RIR.*
            • Personality: Known to be very loving and caring towards their owners, they are generally curious, but also cautious... They may be more unfriendly towards strangers, and other animals.
            • Available from:*
              • Murray McMurray:
                • Day Old: (Min. 1) SR: $2.14, F: $2.47, M: $1.31
              • My Pet Chicken:
                • Day Old: (Min. 3+, Overall) SR: ---, F: $3.00, M: $2.00
              • Cackle Hatchery:
                • Day Old: (Min. 5) SR: $2.06, F: $2.52, M: $1.20 (No Min. on Males)
            Overall a very good combination of hardiness, and egg laying capability. It is very clear why they are one of the most popular chickens for backyard chicken owners.

            Photo courtesy of Flickr user: Just Chaos'
            Information courtesy of: http://www.rhode-island-red.co.uk/
            http://purelypoultry.com/rhode-island-red-chickens-p-571.html
            http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/rhode_island_reds.html
            *for more information on terms listed above, see Key to Chicken Entries

            Key to Chicken Entries

            For each of my chicken entries I will begin with a paragraph, about the chicken, whether their personality, tendencies, or other unique traits. Then I will continue with a list of facts about the chickens, summarized below.
            • Appearance: As in what they look like, whether colors, or other body features. If not mentioned, they are assumed to have four toes, and un-feathered legs.
            • Weight: How much, in pounds, the chicken usually weighs.
            • Purpose: If the chicken is usually raised for egg-laying, or for it's meat, or maybe both. This site will be geared towards egg-layers, or chickens of dual-purpose.
            • Origin: The place where the chicken was initially found or bred.
            • Common: If a chicken is a typical choice, or not.
            • Egg color: The complexion of an egg.
            • Egg size: Rated in typical store sizes.
            • Eggs week/year: How many eggs are laid on average in a week, and then a year. Keep in mind that this is for the first year, and every year thereafter a chicken will lay less and less eggs.
            • Broody/Setter: If a chicken will lay a dozen or so eggs, and then stop and raise them.
            • Confinement: If a chicken willingly is confined, rather than attempting to escape.
            • Compatibility: How the chicken is with other chickens, of the same or of a different type.
            • Hardy: If it is hardy in hot/cold weather, or both.
            • Bantam: If there is a so-called "bantam" variety of the chicken, which is usually just a smaller version with smaller eggs, but similar , if not identical, in appearance.
            • Personality: One of the most important parts in all chickens, is their personality, whether curious, solitary, or something else. Remember that this varies from chicken to chicken, so not one is the same!
            • Available from: Some hatcheries, organizations, or farms that sell the kind of chicken discussed. In addition to the price which is in US dollars.
            All in all, I will try to be concise, and informative in my work.

            Photo courtesy of Julia Webb

            Why I'm here.

            In the beginning of buying of a few chickens, I found no proper website of how to pick a chicken, without only trying to advertise to buy some from them. So, in order to help others from facing the same dilemma, I am beginning this website, Pickin' a Chicken. This site is geared towards finding the right chicken for you, the backyard chicken owner, through suitability of conditions, personality, available time, and compatibility. Blog posts will be geared to a new kind of chicken a week roughly, and at a certain point, a sorting system, for you to be able to find the right chicken for you, quickly and easily. (Photo courtesy of Anna Wiz)